EYO4448 - Heslington East Areas A1 and A2




Grid reference Centred SE 6369 5056 (488m by 418m)
Map sheet SE65SW
Civil Parish Heslington, City of York, North Yorkshire
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire



York Archaeological Trust





From November 2007 to October 2008 York Archaeological Trust conducted a geophysical survey and archaeological excavation at Heslington East, Heslington, York. The site lies some 3km to the south-east of York City centre, c.700m to the east of Heslington village, and incorporates areas of glacial moraine and parts of the low lying Vale of York basin. The works involved the excavation two large areas, A1 and A2, seven smaller trenches, Trenches L1-L7 and 17 evaluation trenches. The works were carried out on behalf of the University of York. A naturally occurring kettlehole was located in the area of Trench L6-7. A palaeochannel flowed southwards from this kettlehole across area A1. This was one of a series of palaeochannels aligned broadly north-south flowing southwards from Kimberlow Hill. Peat depostis in the area of the kettlehole showed no signs of human activity. The earliest features excavated dated to the Bronze Age and were largely focused on a springhead in the north-western portion of A1. Activity in this area was comprised of a series of large pits, some with wicker revetments, which appear to have related to the accessing of water. These had subsequently been sealed by cobble surfaces designed to give access to the water-table. A Bronze Age skull with preserved brain tissue was found to the south-east of this waterhole area. To the east of the waterhole area two further pits may pre-date the Iron Age. In area A2 there were three curvilinear ditches which were again of pre-Iron Age date. Activity around the A1 waterhole continued into the Early iron Age. A series of north-south aligned ditches of Iron Age date, which broadly followed the line of the underlying palaeochannel, were located to the immediate east of the waterhole. These ditches continued southwards into Trenches L1 and L2. Abutting the ditches to the east was an Iron Age ladder settlement with two enclosures (one in area A1 and on in area A2) containing roundhouses and ring-gullies. Evidence for metalworking of Iron Age date was also present in Area A1.The field system established in the Iron Age underwent a series of alterations and seems to have continued in use into the early Roman period. There was relatively little evidence for Roman period features, and none relating directly to domestic occupation. The few Roman features did include a ditch in area A1 and a waterhole with gravel floors at the southern end of area A2. A scattering of Roman finds were recovered from across the site, including two small coin hoards in the area of the waterhole. The latest of these hoards dated to AD 350-3. No evidence of Anglian or Anglo-Scandinavian settlement was seen on the site. During the medieval, post-medieval and modern periods the site was used for agriculture which had truncated some of the earlier archaeological activity.

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2008. Heslington East.
  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2008. Heslington East.
  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2008. Heslington East.

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

  • Heslington East Spring and Water Management Feature (Monument)

Parent/preceding Site Events/Activities (2)

  • York University Campus 3 Trenches 1-9
  • Heslington East PARENT RECORD (publication)

Record last edited

Jul 16 2020 2:29PM


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